The American Transportation Research Institute issued a technical memorandum criticizing a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that endorsed the agency’s new restart provision of hours of service that took effect in July.
ATRI’s report, released April 22, was prepared in response to an FMCSA document released in January that said the HOS rule’s new restart section — which mandates a 34-hour weekend that would include time off from 1 to 5 a.m. on two consecutive days — to be effective and useful in combating driver fatigue.
“FMCSA has heard loudly and clearly from carriers and drivers that the new rules are not advancing safety and are creating additional stress and fatigue on the part of truck drivers,” said Steve Rush, president of tank truck carrier Carbon Express of Wharton, N.J.
“ATRI’s analysis raises enough questions about FMCSA’s own study that should compel a comprehensive review of the entire rule,” he added.
ATRI found numerous faults with FMCSA’s January report, including:
• Small sample size. Looking at just 106 drivers over 12 days each is insufficient to draw a broad conclusion.
• The study unfairly compares a restart provision with just one 1 to 5 a.m. period over 34 hours with a period of more than 34 hours off.
• The new restart provision forces drivers onto the highways during peak traffic times, thereby increasing the chance for an accident to occur.
• The difference in sleep obtained by the two duty-cycle groups on their restart breaks differed by six minutes per 24-hour period, which is insufficient to make a claim of more recuperative sleep.